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Sunday, April 2, 2017

Another Group Arrested After USPS Catches Meth Package

Akron, Ohio, left the DeepDotWeb front page only a two months ago for a Fentanyl drug crime. But the city name recently surfaced on other parts of it the internet for a new set of drug crimes. One example took the form of a grand jury indictment that included 49 names and methamphetamine trafficking in and out of Akron. The other, however, involved a grand jury indictment charging only three—but it accused the three of shipping meth from California to Akron via USPS.

Senator Portman used Ohio as a launchpad for the bill he sponsored, the Synthetics Trafficking & Overdose Prevention (STOP) Act. The bill targeted so-called “loopholes” in the United​ States Postal Service that enabled drug trafficking. Despite a wide variety of drugs entering and exiting the mail stream, his bill targeted opioids. Specifically designer opioids that “came from China.” While Ohio served as the face of opioid addiction in 2016, 2017 revealed a new drug preference.

That 2017 preference, in all fairness, appeared in 2016 as well—albeit hidden underneath the anti-opioid propaganda. The drug of the year is methamphetamine. (For 2016, see the FBI operation “Operation Schrock & Awe” that caught 10 individuals who imported methamphetamine from California to Ohio via mail orders and face to face contact). 

On March 7, the grand jury indictment charged 49 individuals for methamphetamine trafficking, along with the usual array of additional charges. The trafficking ring of 49 individuals operated from Pennsylvania and Ohio, primarily, according to court documentation. They built connections nationwide, however. Regardless, the Akron connection ended the ring’s run.

According to a news outlet that covered the story:

“The organization was crushed Jan. 12 when investigators were watching a codefendant, Alberto Andrews, 37, of Akron, Ohio, who was driving Maitre’s BMW to and from Ohio to deliver seven pounds of meth to Maitre… Law enforcement agents seized methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine, marijuana and prescription drugs, found more than 40 firearms, and also retrieved cash, more than 20 vehicles, and paraphernalia associated with drug trafficking, authorities said.”

Seven days later, in an indictment that appeared completely unrelated, more methamphetamine traffickers received charges. David A. Sierleja, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio announced the investigation and arrest of three men: an Akron resident named Jonathan Dowdell and two San Bernardino, California residents named Dean Dowdell and Justin Jones.

All three received the same charge: conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute. The weight that created the charges came from a 900g methamphetamine package sent through the mail. The United States Postal Inspection Service investigated the suspects and arrested all three in February. Authorities released no discovery or investigative documentation. As with many USPIS cases, the government released very little information as to how the USPIS came to investigate the group.

So far, we know very little. The California men mailed methamphetamine to Akron—the Akron resident ordered and conspired to sell it. However, the DoJ announcement also credited Homeland Security Investigation and Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers with the investigation.

Late last year, the DEA arrested a pair of suspects in Arkansas. They too ordered methamphetamine from a source in California. “Pounds at a time, through the mail,” a confidential informant wrote. The government released the ground operation information but said nothing regarding the USPIS inspection.

Rarely anything surfaces regarding the USPS part of drug investigations where orders are made and the vendor ships the order via the postal system.
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